Odd I know, but it is true and here’s why…
Counting teeth, not out loud!
Silently, in your own head… really can help you be a better parent.
Last week we talked about empathy and how exactly you cultivate this virtue and that of compassion, within your own children.
Within this topic I touched on the idea of ‘think time’ and how valuable it can be when working on teaching your children morals and values.
But, in fact ‘think time’ can be valuable to all areas of parenting. And this is where your teeth come in…
How often have you caught yourself requesting your child to do something or not do something and then getting annoyed when they do not immediately comply with your request? I regularly catch myself doing it, especially when it is first thing, pre-coffee hit.
But when I do, I always try to remind myself of my teeth. Now I can almost see your furrowed brow, raised eyebrow and pursed lip… hahaha no I’m not mad, no I’m not trying to sell you some secret bullet that will solve all your parenting woes.
But I am saying that silently counting your teeth with your tongue can help you to navigate many an interaction with your children.
Let me explain. All children need ‘think time’, some more than others depending on their level of stubbornness and desire to understand EVERYTHING. But this time is important and it is important we allow it.
This silent space is when kids process the situation, what has been requested and marry it up to their own needs and wants.
Kids are still learning about their world, being able to respond instantly, in any given situation, takes time and years of experiences. Some adults never master it.
But in this busy, fast paced stressful world in which we are parenting it is so easy to forget to give a child this ‘think time’.
They will not always do what has been asked, and that is when there needs to be a consequence of some kind.
But you might be surprised as to how many times your child actually does choose the right action if given a little silence and a little space to process and make this choice themselves.
My trick to remind myself to do this is to count my teeth.
For example, I mentioned in last week’s blog that I had to have a quiet chat with Miss now 4, and she needed to make an apology to her Grandparents, along with the reason why she was sorry.
I knew that if I made her do it immediately it would be insincere or perhaps just not come at all. This was because she was still processing the exchange, the reason why I had taken her aside for a chat, what she had previously understood and what she now understood about that particular scenario. In short, she was processing!
Knowing my daughter, when our conversation had ended, instead of making any further comment I simply went silent and began counting my teeth, slowly in my head… First my top row, and then the bottom.
By the time I had finished Miss now Four had made her own way to her Nana and delivered her apology in her words.
It was genuine, sincere and giving her ‘think time’ had allowed for this. It also ensured that she walked away from the exchange having learnt something about social interactions and empathy.
This is only one example and I can tell you that she does not always choose to do what has been asked or requested. However, even if she had chosen to not apologise after our chat and her ‘think time’… well, there is still some valuable learning to take away, it just would have looked a little different.
Had she chosen not to, I would have started my TRIPLE RC- My trick for managing behaviour and one very strong willed four year old.
Tune in next week and I’ll fill you in on this one. I can definitely thank teaching for this trick… it is a whole lot harder to implement within your own home than it is in a classroom but the principle is there and it has a lot of merit in giving a child appropriate boundaries, without setting them up to fail.
Until then, think COUNTING TEETH
Your hands-on helper,